West Heath is a good example of what happens when grazing stops.
Grazing livestock leave a flora of heather, bracken, broom, gorse and acid-
When it stops, trees and scrub appear again, birch being one of the first.
This is basically what has happened to most of The Heath. (see slides at bottom of page)
Telegraph Hill (situated on the high ground off Platt's Lane, by West Heath Road and originally part of West Heath.)
During the Napoleonic War period the Admiralty needed a faster means to communicate to its fleet moored on the South Coast of England than could be achieved by a rider on horseback.
Their solution was to create a network of signalling stations that linked the Admiralty, in central London, with the respective fleet ports spread along the South Coast.
During this time the cottage at the summit of the hill was used as a signalling station and formed part of a chain that linked
the Admiralty with Great Yarmouth on the East Anglian Coast, so named Telegraph Hill.
The cottage was also visited by many famous people including Dickens – ‘’… the air being of the purest and the view magnificent.’’
The boggy area of West Heath has also conserved evidence of what the area might have looked like 12,000 years ago.
Pollen seeds and insect remains show that the area was what is known as "Wildwood", dominated by limes, oak, alder and hazel.
Is this why Tooley's Farm was called Wildwood Farm?